When we say “Low Tech” what we mean is the simplest means to achieve a task without fossil fuels. Over the next few weeks, as we’re sequestering ourselves here at the institute, we’ll be bringing you ideas for entertaining yourselves as well as updates on what we’re up to — luckily we can spend time outside in the garden and working on other projects.
To start out with, though, we’ll ease into our recommendations with shows to watch when you’re stuck inside. You can look forward to posts on books, activities, skills, and other ideas to keep you company over the coming weeks. And now, without any further ado, here are a list of binge-worthy shows that should get your mind working towards the goal of living with less fossil fuels. For the most part, these are documentary-style coverage of preindustrial life. I’m not giving you these recommendations to keep you inside watching the screen, but instead to inspire you to get out and do something during this time, if you can.
Of course you should start by streaming our own webseries, Foodmageddon. Every Friday we’re putting out a new episode of this documentary-style “window into a parallel timeline where fossil fuels have disappeared.” It tries to answer the question, “how would you live if fossil fuels collapsed?” Five episodes, available on YouTube.
This is one of my favorite in a handful of series from the BBC with the same presenters. I’m going to recommend them all, really, in order of my subjective enjoyment of each. Victorian Farm brings two archaeologists and a historian back to live on a farm from the second half of the 1800s. Filmed in 2009, this has six initial episodes and a few follow ups. It was on the BBC but is now on YouTube.
I’ve recommended this show before in a blog post. Wartime Farm follows the same BBC presenters as Victorian Farm through the trials put on the British farmer during WWII, where they had to adapt to increased production with fewer resources. All nine episodes from 2012 are available on YouTube.
Like Victorian and Wartime Farms but set in the Edwardian era of the begin of the 1900s. All twelve episodes of Edwardian Farm originally aired on the BBC in 2010–11, but they’re all now (you guessed it) on YouTube:
Tudor Monastery Farm
And just to round out this set of programs, I’ll recommend Tudor Monastery Farm, which is set in the late Medieval (1500s) Britain. Six episodes from 2013 on YouTube (although this might be under copyright restriction, as it is harder to find:
And now essentially the same thing as the farm series, but in Australia! Outback House follows a group living in an 1861 sheep station. All eight episodes from 2005 are online.
This show follows three families trying to live on the western prairies with technology from 1883. It was originally aired on PBS in 2002. You can stream all six episodes on YouTube.
Pioneer Quest was shot in the early 2000s in Canada. It throws two couples back in time to live for a year on the Canadian prairie frontier. It was on PBS, but all nine episodes are now on YouTube.
And now for a list of other shows that might be worth checking out.
- Edwardian Country House
- Victorian Pharmacy
- Colonial House
- Tales from the Green Valley
- Victorian Kitchen Garden
If you have a favorite series to recommend, please let us know in the comments!